ECAC Hockey picks: Week 16

Last week: 6-4-1

Overall:  68-68-23

First place Quinnipiac is off again this weekend, while travel partner Princeton concludes its exam break Sunday with a non-conference matchup against Sacred Heart. All start times are 7 p.m. unless noted.

Friday, Jan. 25

Brown at Colgate

He’s not going to approach the numbers the Austin Smith posted last season, but the Bears’ Matt Lorito might nearly as valuable as the former Raider, at least according to the numbers. The sophomore has scored 13 of Brown’s 45 goals this season, which comes to 28.9 percent. Smith’s 36 goals last year accounted for 29.8 percent of Colgate’s total, although the Raiders did have three other players hit double figures.   This year’s Brown team only has one other player with five goals (Chris Zaires), and head coach Brendan Whittet has repeatedly said someone besides Lorito needs to start scoring.  Meanwhile, the Raiders have nine players with at least five goals. Colgate wins

Clarkson at Harvard

A first-round bye was on the line when these teams met in last year’s final game of the regular season. Now? Not so much, as both the Golden Knights and Crimson have the worst overall winning percentages in the league. Harvard wins

St. Lawrence at Dartmouth

Dartmouth plays a smart, disciplined brand of hockey.  The Big Green have taken the least of amount of penalties in conference play, and their penalty kill is still one of the nation’s top-five units despite going 0-for-2 against Yale last Saturday.  The Saints are a modest 2-1-1 over the last four games, but will need some scoring from someone other than Kyle Flanagan or Greg Carey if they want to get a win here. Dartmouth wins

Yale at Cornell, 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)

This is the second consecutive week the Bulldogs are on NBC Sports Network, as Yale shutout Harvard 4-0 last week at Ingalls on the network’s broadcast. The Bulldogs are currently on a five-game unbeaten streak, thanks in part to steady defensive play and Jeff Malcolm in net.  Cornell is 1-4 over the last five games, and is minus forward Cole Bardreau, who fractured his neck Friday against Rensselaer and is done for the season.  Yale wins

Saturday, Jan. 26

Brown at Cornell

The Bears have been near the bottom of the league in recent years, but have given Cornell some problems over the last few meetings. Brown lead 2-0 last February at Lynah before the Big Red scored five unanswered goals to come away with the win, snapping a three-game losing streak against the Bears. Cornell still leads the all-time series 69-42-5, and they should pad that lead here. Cornell wins

Clarkson at Dartmouth

Clarkson averages a respectable 2.8 goals per-game in ECAC play, which is good for fifth best. The problem is that the Golden Knights are allowing the same amount, which could make it difficult against a Big Green team that’s been pretty balanced this season. Dartmouth wins

St. Lawrence at Harvard

Neither team has played well lately, but I’ll take the Saints to leave Boston with a road win. St. Lawrence wins

Yale at Colgate

Both these teams can score, but don’t overlook the goaltenders, as both the Bulldogs’ Jeff Malcolm and the Raiders’ Spencer Finney have both been solid to date.  I’ m tempted to pick the home team, but Yale has been playing too well lately. Yale wins

Rensselaer vs. Union, 7:30 p.m. (Times Union Center, Albany NY)

These capital region rivals meet in a non-conference matchup to determine the winner of the first annual Mayor’s Cup.  The Dutchmen swept a two-game series in the beginning of November, including a 7-3 win at Messa Rink that featured a combined 16 penalties between the teams.  RPI is coming off a sweep of Colgate and Cornell, but I’m cautiously taking the Dutchmen here. Should the game go to overtime, the teams will play a five-minute sudden death period and go to a shootout if it remains deadlocked. Union wins

Sunday, Jan. 26

Sacred Heart at Princeton, 4 p.m.

The Tigers end their exam break by hosting the winless Pioneers, a team they beat 4-3 in November on the strength of four goals by Andrew Ammon.  Princeton wins